Smartphone-Compatible 3D Printer: Thing. Very Affordable Thing.

“Who wants to see a party trick?”

By The Editors
March 28, 2016 9:00 am

Telephone. Noun. From Greek roots tele- (meaning “from afar” or “at a distance”) and phōnē (“sound” or “voice”). In other words: a thing that lets you communicate with your voice over great distances.

Had Alexander Graham Bell known in 1876 that his invention would eventually be used to print three-dimensional objects from scratch, well, he might have given it a different name.

The folks responsible for rendering the name anachronistic: OLO 3D, a startup that has designed a compact 3D printer that builds objects by using the light from a smartphone’s display to craft a resin-based piece layer by layer within its 400-cubic-centimeter chamber.

OLO, the first ever smartphone 3D printer 1:05

After selecting an object to print from an online library or loading a custom design, the OLO app instructs a smartphone to light up specific pixels of the revolutionary “daylight resins” for a set amount of time. Once the goo-like resins — which come in four materials and five colors — are blasted with the light, they harden up like a forgotten Christmas fruitcake to form the desired design.

The device is compatible with Apple, Android and Windows phones of all shapes and sizes, and its software calculates the exact amount of resin needed for each job in order to eliminate waste.

In addition to making toy racecars and dinosaur skulls for fun, the OLO printer could be pretty useful for designers, engineers, dentists and other professional who might need unique objects or moldings. And at a price of only $99, it isn’t going to break any budgets.

A Kickstarter campaign has already raised more than $1.2 million and orders should begin shipping in September.

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